A comparative effectiveness trial of postoperative management for lumbar spine surgery: Changing behavior through physical therapy (CBPT) study protocol

Kristin R. Archer, Rogelio A. Coronado, Christine M. Haug, Susan W. Vanston, Clinton J. Devin, Christopher J. Fonnesbeck, Oran S. Aaronson, Joseph S. Cheng, Richard L. Skolasky, Lee H. Riley, Stephen T. Wegener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: The United States has the highest rate of lumbar spine surgery in the world, with rates increasing over 200% since 1990. Medicare spends over $1 billion annually on lumbar spine surgery. Despite surgical advances, up to 40% of patients report chronic pain and disability following surgery. Our work has demonstrated that fear of movement is a risk factor for increased pain and disability and decreased physical function in patients following lumbar spine surgery for degenerative conditions. Cognitive-behavioral therapy and self-management treatments have the potential to address psychosocial risk factors and improve outcomes after spine surgery, but are unavailable or insufficiently adapted for postoperative care. Our research team developed a cognitive-behavioral based self-management approach to postoperative rehabilitation (Changing Behavior through Physical Therapy (CBPT)). Pilot testing of the CBPT program demonstrated greater improvement in pain, disability, physical and mental health, and physical performance compared to education. The current study compares which of two treatments provided by telephone - a CBPT Program or an Education Program about postoperative recovery - are more effective for improving patient-centered outcomes in adults following lumbar spine surgery for degenerative conditions.

Methods/design. A multi-center, comparative effectiveness trial will be conducted. Two hundred and sixty patients undergoing lumbar spine surgery for degenerative conditions will be recruited from two medical centers and community surgical practices. Participants will be randomly assigned to CBPT or Education at 6 weeks following surgery. Treatments consist of six weekly telephone sessions with a trained physical therapist. The primary outcome will be disability and secondary outcomes include pain, general health, and physical activity. Outcomes will be assessed preoperatively and at 6 weeks, 6 months and 12 months after surgery by an assessor masked to group allocation.

Discussion. Effective rehabilitation treatments that can guide clinicians in their recommendations, and patients in their actions will have the potential to effect change in current clinical practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number325
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Comparative effectiveness research
  • Postoperative pain
  • Rehabilitation
  • Self-management
  • Spine surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'A comparative effectiveness trial of postoperative management for lumbar spine surgery: Changing behavior through physical therapy (CBPT) study protocol'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this